This was unexpected. GA-EPD asked if we wanted to complete redesignating the rest of the Withlacoochee River in the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) in Georgia from Fishing to Recreational, for tighter contamination restrictions. We said yes.
What’s the difference? There are three levels of waterbody designations considered every three years in the Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards required of each state by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These are Fishing, Recreational, and Drinking. Fishing has the least restrictions on contamination, and Drinking has the most. Nobody drinks out of our Suwannee River Basin rivers, so Recreational is what we want.
If this new request gets approved, that’s 46.3 more Withlacoochee River miles, added to the 23.71 miles redesignated in 2023, that’s 70 river miles.
Since Florida by default designates all rivers as Recreational, that means that if this redesignation happens, all of the Withlacoochee River in the WLRWT will be Recreational. That’s 97.6 river miles in Georgia and Florida.
Her question, received July 19, 2023: Continue reading